Now let me first say that people who tell you that you aren't ready for something aren't necessarily trying to tear you down. Sometimes, they are just trying to be honest with you. You have to know the difference between the honest and the naysayers. But either way, if this is what you're supposed to do, you oughtta do it.
When I started college as a music major, my audition was abysmal. I had never taken a classical saxophone lesson. To prepare, myself and a well-meaning student teacher (who was a trumpet player) attempted to get through my first classical piece ever. Just getting the notes, much less any notion of appropriate interpretation or tone, was something of a nightmare. I also elected to play a little jazz improv, which I was relatively good at for a high schooler, but in retrospect I don't really know if it went so well in the audition.
The kicker was that my audition day wasn't even one of the "official" ones. They figured out a way to make it work on an unscheduled offday, which worked, but was a little awkward for everyone involved.
I found out after the fact (a couple years actually) from one of my teachers who was in that room, that I barely made it in. There was a moment of them sitting back and going “Woof. I don’t know about this kid”. But they took a chance on me, seeing potential.
I found myself surrounded by a lot of people who had been in private schools and classical music for a lot of their lives. Yes, I was good at music, sang and played several instruments, and had taken piano for a number of years when I was younger. But this world was foreign, weird, and scary for me. Sure, on some level I felt “cooler”. I had been in rock bands and show choir bands while a lot of them were learning about etudes and famous symphonies. But, I was in their world now. Etudes. Juries. A world that up until a few months before, I had actively tried to avoid.
And yet, somehow I ended up being a candidate for the honors recital by the second half of college, in the top jazz band, and the President of the recording studio.
Then there was Grad school. I started off as an interdisciplinary major straddling Communications and MBA courses. Neither of which were areas of focus for me as an undergrad music major, but I knew they would relate to music and media industries in the long run. So there I was, again, surrounded by people who had mostly either majored in COM or business, or had at least done significant work in either field before taking courses on the Graduate level. I got into a class that had no pre-reqs but was apparently supposed to be for second year grad students. The professor told me, not rudely, but openly and directly that I probably didn't have the requisite knowledge to be in the class, and that I should reconsider being there. I asked another student after class what they thought about it. They tried to be helpful, but weren't entirely sure what to tell me. I ended up telling the professor, "Well, I'm here, so we'll see what happens." I was feeling alienated and unsure. Again. Blunt-force trauma back to the bottom of the ladder.
To make a 4 1/2 month story short, thank God, I ended up doing very well in the class and designing a marketing campaign that I was told was a really good idea. In fact, the prof told me personally that they were glad I was there. And that wasn’t the only class where I had that sort of experience.
And these are just the cliff notes. Altogether, I've found myself in situations more than a few times where I didn't feel like I was entirely "qualified" to be there. In jazz bands. Making phone calls with various broadcast groups as a supervisor for my church's media campaign, using my bedroom as an office. Doing jobs in art, photography, knowing I was good at them but not having all the “formal training” someone who does that is “supposed” to have. Doing jobs in production having had SOME training, but wondering if it was enough.
But how you feel has nothing to do with it.
In one of my business courses, we had some owner/operators come in and tell us their stories. They sounded a lot like mine in the respect that, they started going “well, ok. I don’t know if I’m ‘qualified’ for this, but I have a passion for it and I’m going to do it anyway.” And now they really have things going.
I’m not saying to just do whatever. Do what you’re called to do. Do what you were born to do, where you were born to do it. Don’t take stupid artibrary risks, people do get in trouble that way, and don’t attempt to do things half-cocked either. But don’t let someone scare you away from the RIGHT path. Do the best with what’s in your hands right now, become bigger than the level you are on. Not having an inclination or passion for something is a good reason for not doing it. But fear of inadequacy? Don’t let that stop you. When God has given you the grace to do something, trust me, you're qualified.
In fact, as I write this, my music is about to get some radio airplay tonight. I’m thankful for what I’m sure is just one instance of many, many more.